Deadline, one of Hollywood’s leading trade news websites, published a piece by Nellie Andreeva yesterday that would’ve probably stirred more controversy if it weren’t so laughable. Entitled “Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings — About Time Or Too Much Of Good Thing?,” it theorizes — based on cherry-picked, anonymous anecdotal evidence — that things have gotten hard out there for white actors in an television industry that’s suddenly embracing people of color (or, uh, “ethnic actors, a casting term used for non-Caucasian thesps”).
It reads like a poorly written Onion article, basically asserting that shows like Empire, Fresh Off the Boat, and Black-ish have pushed white actors to the fringe.
The pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered.
It also includes this patronizing gem: “Star names were in demand as usual, as were hot young guys and girls and occasional foreigners with that ‘sparkle,’ ” which is to say that, in Deadline’s assessment of pilot season, the hiring hierarchy goes something like this:
Star Names > Hot Young Guys and Girls > “Foreigners with Sparkle” > Ethnics > White People.
Deadline has never been a particularly beloved site by the industry or other journalists because it used to be written by the most loathed woman in journalism, Nikki Finke; because of its petty feud with The Wrap; and because of its history of failing to credit others for scoops. It’s always been the bully of trade news outlets.
Seeing an opening, journalists and actors are having a field day ripping them a new asshole for this piece, and it’s been a joy to watch.
Here are the best Twitter responses:
Did the Deadline article say anything about whether or not Chappie was black?— billy eichner (@billyeichner) March 25, 2015
Horrible Deadline article, you've left me no choice. I must go FULL FACEPALM, from ALL of Star Trek! Happy now??! pic.twitter.com/HC3FEY5CTW— Mo Ryan (@moryan) March 25, 2015
I guess white actors will have to resign themselves to the vast majority of roles in most network and cable shows. http://t.co/Tfzl5xBgUB— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) March 25, 2015
when Deadline clicks "publish" pic.twitter.com/F1WCeoNf4X— Russ Fischer (@russfischer) March 25, 2015
Starbucks needs to talk to Deadline.— James Urbaniak (@JamesUrbaniak) March 25, 2015
Deadline editor Drunk Uncle to take questions on ethnic castings, dame Ghostbusters, when McRib is coming back pic.twitter.com/EaGMU67hot— Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) March 25, 2015
WTF, why is a digital edition of Ron Paul's racist Newsletter being posted online? I just… Oh, wait, it's .@Deadline.— Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff) March 25, 2015
Is Deadline condoning the Ethnics Taking Over Hollywood problem by printing that article in black ink? #idiocy— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) March 25, 2015
In Deadline's defense, "Ethnic Castings" was a pretty unfortunate Outdoor Life Network show.— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) March 25, 2015
So glad someone is finally willing to speak out about Hollywood's systematic, decades-long oppression of white people http://t.co/TOBPr88sEN— Alex Blagg (@alexblagg) March 25, 2015
"I follow a black friend on Twitter." - Deadline— Josh Kurp (@JoshKurp) March 25, 2015
Amazing that one of the people from the comments on any @Deadline article got to write an article for them.— Moment of Gladness (@NoItsRebecca) March 25, 2015
1st Reaction:: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse! 2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can't even be bothered.— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 25, 2015